We may keep hearing about the nursing shortage, but have you ever wondered what’s behind it?
The potential for a nursing shortage isn’t a new concern, just one that is becoming more prevalent. One of the main reasons is that the baby boomers are aging, which has led to an increasing demand on healthcare. An aging population generally has more chronic conditions, which means more need for care from providers – and you guessed it, a need for more nurses. According to the National Council on Aging, 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 68 percent have at least two. All these patients with chronic conditions, means more nurses are needed to care for them.
An aging population also means an aging workforce which means more people retiring, and that’s especially true for nursing. Today, nurses make up the largest segment of the entire healthcare workforce of the United States (3 million strong)! But even that number doesn’t match the demand. There are simply not enough schools to keep pace with the demand for new nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2022 there will be over a million openings for nurses nationwide. With a large number of experienced nurses nearing retirement this means nursing positions will continue to open.
Take a look at this great article from The Atlantic, which provides a deep dive into the factors driving the nursing shortage, as well as what happens when healthcare facilities are low on nurses. They also discuss potential solutions to help ease the nursing shortage – from a national licensure for nurses, making it easier for nurses to move to places with a higher need, to opening up the path to a nursing degree, with more options in rural communities.
At Galen, we know one thing, the country needs nurses, and nursing needs you!